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Christopher Nolan's 2005 film based upon the origins of the DC Comics character.

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To new beginnings.

  • Jul 26, 2012
*** out of ****

As a child, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) was subjected to not one but two majorly traumatic events. The first was when he fell into the well just outside of his house and was greeted by a swarm of bats at the bottom, causing him to develop a phobia for the animals. The second was when his phobia took over him at an opera that he was attending with his parents, provoking the three of them to step outside, where the mugger Joe Chill was waiting with a loaded gun, which he used to shoot both of Bruce's parents dead. Afterwards, he was placed under the care of Arthur Pennyworth (Michael Caine) for the remainder of his childhood into adulthood. Once Bruce grows, he decides that it would be best to leave the city of Gotham behind in spite of a potential legacy that he could make for himself in following in his father's footsteps. But Gotham is where the most painful of memories lie.

When we first see adult Wayne, he looks rather rough; tired, not clean-shaven, and locked up in a Bhutanese prison where every day the inmates try their hand at delivering blows to Bruce's body and fail miserably. So miserably that he has to be locked up in an even more adequate cell. But this is the cell where he meets Ra's al Ghul - also known as Henri Ducard - (Liam Neeson); a member of the so-called "League of Shadows", an organization of ninjas. He offers to train Bruce so that he may become "more than just a man". After he supplies him with the proper instructions to locate him, Bruce takes Ghul up on his offer. Together they train for the future; so that Bruce may someday fight against the same forces of evil that took the lives of his parents and snatched up what was left of his childhood.

He returns to Gotham, driven by vengeance. In his absence, his father's company has been taken over by the arrogant William Earle (Rutger Hauer) and his childhood friend Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) has become Gotham's assistant district attorney. Bruce decides that he must make whatever changes that he has the power to make as soon as possible. He starts by investing - not only financially but emotionally - in the family business and stops dead in his tracks the moment he meets Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), who creates experimental technology for the company. Bruce uses this very technology - which includes the car known as the "Tumbler" and the black bodysuit among other things - to shape his new persona, the persona that he shall use to fight crime: Batman.

We all know of the Batman. He's one of the most popular superhero/comic book characters in the history of both superheroes and comic books; bordering on one of the most popular characters in any medium, period. Sadly, he's never quite gotten the chance to grace the silver screen as he was probably intended to; the most famous cinematic outing for Gotham's dark knight being Tim Burton's goofy "Batman" in 1989. However, director and co-writer (with David S. Goyer) Christopher Nolan has come along to rework not only the Batman franchise itself but the character of Bruce Wayne as well. The dark side to the franchise has always lingered in the dark, but now it shall emerge to the masses both day and night. A whole new fan-base of younger Batman enthusiasts shall be born.

The film is rather awesome in spectacle and large in scale; frequently involving and often quite intelligent. I thoroughly enjoyed Nolan's purely intellectual approach to the material. He grounds his story in a reality not too much different from our own; and thus, it transcends the boundaries of its comic book origins. In a sense, this isn't even a comic book movie. There's no avoiding that it's a superhero movie, but it's unlike the mass majority of the ones out there at the moment. Sure, there's a CGI swarm of bats here and there, and one of the villains (Dr. Krane/Scarecrow, a mask-wearing psychopath who utilizes a powerful toxin that awakens the fear within all who take it in, played brilliantly by Cillian Murphy) is basically a living gateway for fancy effects, but most of the effects are more practical and therefore the film still feels very "real". Or at least as real as it can be.

Bale is probably the best screen Batman/Bruce Wayne yet and Nolan has successfully breathed new life into this franchise, which was in need of a darker spin such as this. Overall, this is impressive, passionate filmmaking that should not be so easily dismissed; although at the same time, there are problems that I must discuss. The first half of the film is emotionally engaging and intriguing right to the very core, but the second half delves more-so into the action aspect. And it's nicely done action; don't get me wrong, but its action nonetheless and given how frequent it is, there's simply no ignoring that a lot of genuine resonance is taken away from it due to this. The tension that Nolan builds up isn't always as consistent as he may want it to be, but at least he succeeded in building it in the first place. And then, there's Katie Holmes; mis-cast only because at this point, I'm just convinced she can't act. And her character is supposed to be intelligent, so...yeah, it doesn't really work out. But "Batman Begins" is still a quality product. Here's to new beginnings and brighter futures; that the bright shining bat symbol in the sky shall shine on for many more years to come.

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More Batman Begins reviews
review by . November 30, 2010
Once upon a time, Batman fans were disappointed with the aftertaste left by the disastrous Joel Schumacher films. A producer named Christopher Nolan heard their cries and decided to take the franchise back to its roots with Batman Begins. He went back to the dark storyline and rich character development that made the first two original batman movies great, as opposed to the campiness and kid-friendliness of the Schumacher movies. Boy did this work.      This is nowhere near …
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2010
Thoroughly engrossing and clear headed retelling of the Dark Knight's origins, making sure all the nails are hammered down, our hero learns from his mistakes and saves a scummy Gotham City. Fantastic.
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Steller reintroduction to the Dark Knight after an 8 year absnece and showing his roots, his motives and really getting me to care about Batman again.
review by . December 19, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
After the first Batman franchise was driven into the ground by a succession of terrible sequels, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a respectable Batman film again. But then there came a hope from an unexpected source. Christopher Nolan (director of Following and Memento) wanted to reinvent the character in a more realistic and epic way. He teamed up with screenwriter David S. Goyer (The Blade Trilogy and Dark City) and together they wrote an exceptionally smart screenplay.   …
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
Best installment of Batman yet. Really deep plot twists and cohesive story that holds together better than ever.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Christopher Nolan completely revitalized the Batman franchise. The making of the man was interesting but the culmination of the film seemed to lose the grounding that made the film so compelling from the outset. The scoring definitely made this film.
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Most beleivable of the Batmans
Quick Tip by . June 24, 2010
Amazing! One of the best renditions of a Batman movie.
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
very good, turning point in the batman series
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
All around beautifully executed.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Batman Begins discards the previous four films in the series and recasts the Caped Crusader as a fearsome avenging angel. That's good news, because the series, which had gotten off to a rousing start under Tim Burton, had gradually dissolved into self-parody by 1997'sBatman & Robin. As the title implies,Batman Beginstells the story anew, when Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) flees Western civilization following the murder of his parents. He is taken in by a mysterious instructor named Ducard (Liam Neeson in another mentor role) and urged to become a ninja in the League of Shadows, but he instead returns to his native Gotham City resolved to end the mob rule that is strangling it. But are there forces even more sinister at hand?

Cowritten by the team of David S. Goyer (a veteran comic book writer) and director Christopher Nolan (Memento), Batman Begins is a welcome return to the grim and gritty version of the Dark Knight, owing a great debt to the graphic novels that preceded it. It doesn't have the razzle dazzle, or the mass appeal, of Spider-Man 2 (though the Batmobile is cool), and retelling the origin means it starts slowly, like most "first" superhero movies. But it's certainly the best Bat-film since Burton's original, and one of the best superhero movies of its time. Bale cuts a good figure as Batman, intense and dangerous but with some of the lightheartedness Michael Keaton brought to the character. Michael Caine...

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Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: June 15, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: October 18, 2005
Runtime: 2hrs 20min
Studio: Legendary Pictures, Syncopy Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios
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